Rory Lamont, Tony Caruana of the Canberra Skateboarding Association,
Peter-Joe Hunt, Art Soldo and Harmon Marshall enjoying the free CBR Wi-FI at Belconnen Skate park. Photo: Jay Cronan
Free outdoor Wi-Fi is now accessible along Emu Bank, throughout Lake Belconnen foreshore and around Belconnen mall.
Community Services Minister Yvette Berry made the announcement on Monday following the “great take up” of the free Wi-Fi in Civic, which she claims is used by an average of 30,000 people each week.
Wi-Fi is currently free in Civic East, Civic West, Dickson, Manuka, Tuggeranong and Kingston. It is set to roll out to Gungahlin, Weston Creek and Woden by mid next year.
“Local businesses and community all benefit when people get out and about, and free Wi-Fi encourages that,” Ms Berry said.
“It is an investment in making our parks and public spaces more exciting.”
The Canberra Skateboarding Association’s Tony Carauna hopes the new free internet coverage will enhance people’s experiences at the Belconnen Skate Park.
“Skate parks are social hubs where young people come together to learn new skills and appreciate each other’s talents and differences,” he said.
“A big part of skate culture includes documenting your adventure through photos and videos, so I’m sure the free Wi-Fi will get a workout.”
As part of changes to Canberra’s public transport, bus passengers will also get access to free on-board internet services from later this year, Chief Minister Andrew Barr confirmed in October.
When Canberra’s Wi-Fi system was launched in 2014, The Canberra Times reported internet security experts voiced concerns regarding data security and the potential for phishing.
Senior lecturer at RMIT’s computer engineering department Dr Mark Gregory said the network would be no more dangerous than other public access networks, although data security, phishing and malware remain legitimate concerns.
Ms Berry said Canberra’s Wi-Fi system is one of the largest free public Wi-Fi systems in Australia.